What Is An E-Bike?
Local Electric Bike Shop Explains the Hype Behind Electric Bikes
Earlier today, I was able to sell two Pedego City Commuter bikes to a really fantastic couple in Whitehall. Of course, they had heard from their friends about electric bikes, but they didn't quite understand the full benefits of the bike. It is a common question and one that happens in just about every interaction. Electric bikes are starting to hit the United States. In fact, there were approximately 251,000 electric bikes sold in the United States in 2016. But, why are electric bikes growing in popularity? Electric Bike Place (powered by MACkite) believes it is because electric bikes provide a fun, alternative form of transportation that is accessible for just about anyone.
Electric bikes have frame designs similar to conventional bicycles. The three main components that distinguish and electric bike are the motor, battery, and the mode of acceleration. Motors can be found in the front or rear wheel (hub motor) or closer to the crank (mid-drive motor). Batteries have an average distance of 30 - 60 miles and typically last upwards of 7 years. The two main types of acceleration are throttle, where riders twist your handlebar to engage the motor without pedaling, or pedal assist, where riders can engage the motor by pedaling.
Is It Cheating?
In my opinion, there’s no set type of rider for e-bikes. They’re really made for the people, from the hard core mountain biker to the small-shop delivery driver to the beach cruiser. If you have back, knee, or ankle injuries, you’ll be able to ride easily knowing that you’re not adding to the pain. There’s a variety of styles, including foldable bikes, so you can place them in your car, RV, or boat and have a fun, alternative form of transportation.
There are multiple frame styles and uses for electric bikes, from beach cruisers to fat tires to commuters. The major benefit of electric bicycles is that anyone can ride them - from those who are seasoned bicyclists to those who just need a little extra assistance while going uphill. Knee, hip, and lower back problems also go away thanks to the optional electric assistance.
"But that's cheating," I've heard say on multiple occasions. While there is motor assistance, I don't consider an electric bike cheating. A majority of electric bikes feature pedal-assist only, which means that you have to pedal in order to activate the motor. With that being said, there are varying levels of pedal assist as well, from the lowest assistance to the highest. Having motor assistance allows you to ride longer with less strain and electric bikes give confidence to those who may not have ridden in several years. I have encountered many customers, some of which have not ridden in 10+ years. What I have noticed is that electric bikes build the confidence of the rider and make them passionate about an activity they have would have otherwise placed on the shelf.
Are Electric Bikes Affordable?
Electric bicycles price between $999 upwards of $16,000. This depends on the style, frame construction, components, and of any extra accessories, such as a bluetooth connection to your phone. The price tag can be steep for these bicycles, but the price is a small stepping stone compared to the opportunities the bike can give, such as more activity in your life, the ability to travel without having to use a car, and the overall appreciation of the world outside of a house. Electric bikes can create the lifestyle that many wish they had, offering a unique freedom that is hard to obtain otherwise.
When purchasing an e-bike, you’ll want to consider some key components, including the type of motor, style of bike, acceleration mode (pedal assist v. throttle), and the battery type. You’ll also want to consider your top speed, range, charging time as well as any laws pertaining to electric bikes.
Electric Bike Place offers more than just sales. For those that are unsure about purchasing an electric bike, riders can take them out for the day through our rental program. We also offer test rides around our multi-terrain track behind our store. The last thing we want is to sell a bike that is not right for you, so we take the time to answer your questions and to make sure you are sized properly and ready to ride home with a bike you are sure to love.